The first thing you do is find a name for your business and the second thing you do is check to see whether that domain name is available, so here are 8 tips to help guide you towards making the right decision for your business.
1. Unique Domain Name
Try to get something that is unique and memorable. Don’t go for plurals or hyphenated versions of already popular websites, that’s just going to cause confusion.
2. Dot Com
If you can get the .com extension – do it. Even if you’re in South Africa and think you should go for the .co.za – my suggestion is to get them both if they’re both available and then set a forwarder on the .co.za to direct to the .com. Why? Because there are still a lot of people out there who will automatically assume that your website ends in a .com. It’s not the end of the world, but if it were me, I’d search for another domain name to avoid the confusion of only having the .co.za and then having another company own the .com.
3. Easy to spell
Your website address is going to determine your email address which means you’ll likely be giving it over the phone sometime in the future. “Sure send me an email to email@example.com” – is going to mean a lot of missed emails. Who even knows how many f’s or s’s are in the word professional? I just did a google search to check that I spelt it right.
4. Keep it short
On that note, the less letters in your domain name the better. If you’re doing any sort of online advertising, or even just printing out business cards, you’ll want your domain name to appear as large as possible. If you have something that’s really long, it’s going to be a difficult element to work with design wise. Especially in an advert or business card that runs vertically.
5. No numbers
Please, for the love of Miley Cyrus, no numbers in your domain name. Do you remember Mark Shuttleworth’s brand Hip2B2 – or is it Hip to be squared? There are so many possible options for a domain name here: hip2b2.com / hip2be2.com / hiptobesquared.com
It’s just silly. Avoid at all costs.
6. The X factor
Another favourite of mine is when people use the word extreme in their business name. Is it Xtreme or Extreme? And please avoid using triple x in your domain name, like xxxhomeloans.com – anything with xxx comes off sounding like a porn site.
7. The ‘the’ factor
Let’s say your business is called ‘Vegetarian Mom’ and the domain name www.vegetarianmom.com has been taken so you decide to register www.thevegetarianmom.com – this isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but that means that you need to change your business name to include the ‘the’. Make sure all advertising material is very clear that your business is called ‘The Vegeterian Mom’ and not just ‘Vegetarian Mom’ or you’ll be sending clients directly to your competition.
8. Think long term
If you’re branding your business with your name, like if you’re a photographer and you decide to call your business www.jacksmithphotography.com – I would highly recommend rather going for www.jacksmith.com. If you decide to expand your business in the future and perhaps offer other services, then you won’t be tied to that photography domain name.